Friday, July 31

Please be quiet

It might come as a surprise to those who know me, but I do wish people would keep their thoughts to themselves while in public.

And yes, of course that is a hypocritical thing to write on a blog. I tend to be opinionated, but only with people I know, and usually I'm just trying to have some fun conversation.

So my flight was canceled tonight. I was going to call this post Dinner and Sex. After all I 'dined out' at Logan Airport and then they effed me for $9 on the parking.

Anne and I are now flying to Cleveland tomorrow for our nephew's wedding. But Christ Almighty, it was like Blowhard Central at the Continental check in desk tonight. People shouting, getting angry, abusing the Customer Service woman.

One guy was going on and on about how he knew with certainty that the flight would be canceled 5 hours ago. Of course I turned to Anne and said "What a colossal prick for showing up". I said it because the Customer Service Rep isn't allowed to.

So the flight was canceled. We had biblical novelty rain today, what do you expect?

We're back home. I just called the hotel to let them know we would be there tomorrow instead. They kindly credited us the cost of tonight. Pays to be polite I guess. And we get to sleep in our own bed.

When I add up the new suit, flights, hotel, car rental, gift (plus the Logan night out), I think this wedding is going to cost about $100 an hour for the time we are actually in Ohio. But who cares, I noticed Anne has packed her dancing shoes, so tomorrow night should be fun.

Thursday, July 30

Sad News

Contradicting what I wrote earlier in the week. I do read some novels.

If you classify favorite author, by the number of books read, then my favorite author died this week.

William Tapply was not wildly famous. He was a professor at Clark University and had more than 40 books published. More than half of his published works featured a fictional Boston attorney named Brady Coyne.

The books are easy reads, driven by a likable character, with a wonderful connection to Boston and the surrounding area. Living here makes it easier to visualize the settings.

After I read each book I would always post it onto my Mum. She read every one of them too. And each time she visits Boston we always comment on a location featured in the novels.

His website says he had written one more Brady Coyne book. I hope it is published.

A perfect beach read, or a book to breeze through on a long flight. You should give him a try.

Monday, July 27

In choosing a limousine ....

I don't get many comments on this blog. In fact for a long period I didn't allow them. So when I do get a comment I cherish it like a newly born dove. By the way, why don't we see more doves? Fucking pigeons everywhere, but doves only seem to live at magic shows. I digress.

The following blog comment popped up this morning.

Toronto Limo Service has left a new comment on your post "Oh! Canada (Day 2)":

In choosing a limousine, it is better to have an idea as to seating arrangements of your limousine passengers. Knowing who will seat and how many will be seated, would help you in deciding the factors that will directly affect the comfort of your passengers.

My Oh Canada post was in 2007, and I have no clue what this guy is referring to.

And IF I was to use a limo I would use No Prob Limo

Sunday, July 26

Smart + Pants = Others

Thru' Facebook, Anne sent me a list of 100 books that the BBC reckon everyone should have read.

I passed the list onto a bunch of people I know, and the range was from 20-40.

Except me. Languishing at just 10!

I read a lot, just not much fiction. So this list could be a good chance to improve my range.

By coincidence I was browsing the app store for my iPhone and saw an app of classics novels for just 99¢.

My personal challenge is to get to 20 by year end.

Here's the list:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, July 24

Get well soon Tom!

Bummer. Was due to see him in Boston tomorrow!

Singer Tom Jones regretfully announces the postponement of the following engagements:

July 24 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods
July 25 Boston, MA BoA Pavillion
July 26 Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Tent
July 27 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods
July 29 Vienna, VA Wolf Trap
July 30 Asheville, NC Biltmore Festival
July 31 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Sir Tom contracted viral bronchitis whilst on tour. He continued to perform with the infection, which has affected the function of his voice. His specialist doctors have now ordered complete vocal rest for a prescribed period of time. There are no underlying health problems and Sir Tom is looking forward to a full recovery very soon. He is deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused and very much regrets disappointing his fans. An announcement will be made soon regarding the rescheduling of the dates.

Thursday, July 23

Greater convenience and control


I'm going through my morning ritual of coffee and banking. I tend to check balances, credit card statements and reconcile transactions while gulping down a super-size mug of java.

It's not quite Gordon Gekko, more paying bills in my pjs while Anne is in the shower.

Don't usually pay much attention to the customer service alerts, but for no reason in particular I clicked on one titled Coming soon new and improved Online Banking! Guess I'm a sucker for exclamations!

Here's the first few lines:

New features provide greater convenience and control.
• Make transfers between your Citizens account(s) and your accounts at other financial institutions - just $3.00 for outgoing transfers to other financial institutions. Incoming transfers from other financial institutions to your Citizens account(s) are free of charge.


How does charging me $3 to move my money to other accounts (which has previously been free), provide greater convenience and control?

And how very gracious of Citizens to not charge for moving money into their coffers.

Maybe it's time for me to start using those other financial institutions more often.

Sunday, July 19

Dead __________

Welcome to my special edition of The Match Game, or as it was called in England, Blankety Blank.

Dead Tired
Wow, a few days off work really kicks my ass. I've struggled all week to get back into the groove. Monday felt like a Thursday. I'm not helping myself by getting up early to listen to the cricket back in England. I even took a nap today.

Deadbolt
Everyone's favorite surf rock voodoobilly band played on the East Coast this weekend.


But I missed them

Dead Weather
Did manage to catch these guys on Saturday night instead.
Alison Mosshart of the Kills is a hell of a front woman, little Jackie White of the White Stripes on Drums, Dean Fertita (QotSA) on guitar and the bass player is ... just the bass player from The Raconteurs.
The wtf moment occurred when we got to the House of Blues. No beer on the stage floor. I'm watching a reverb filled bluesly rock out without even a lite beer?

Tuesday, July 14

That Sucks

From the BBC

BRIDE'S BOUQUET BRINGS DOWN PLANE

The traditional throwing of a bride's bouquet for luck ended in disaster at an Italian wedding when the flowers caused a plane to crash.

The bride and groom had hired a small plane to fly past and throw the bouquet to a line of women guests, Corriere della Sera reported.

However, the flowers were sucked into the plane's engine causing it to catch fire and explode.

The aircraft plunged into a hostel. One passenger on the plane was badly hurt.
But about 50 people who had been in the hostel escaped unscathed, as did the pilot.

ENTANGLED

The incident happened at Montioni park in Suvereto, near Livorno, where the wedding reception was being held, Corriere della Sera said.

A passenger on the aircraft, named as Isidoro Pensieri, 44, had the job of throwing the bouquet as pilot Luciano Nannelli flew past.

It is believed the bunch of flowers became entangled as it was thrown, and was sucked into one of the engines.

Ms Pensieri suffered multiple fractures and a head injury. She was taken to hospital in Grosseto by helicopter and then transferred to another in Pisa, Italian media reported.

Sunday, July 12

Who's in the House?

Managed to run to an open house on Wednesday. Anne checked it out Thursday. By Friday we had an offer accepted.

Tomorrow is inspection day.

The house is brand new, so .... it should be OK?!?!

Saturday, July 11

This is Bogus

So I'm walking around the Sincerely Elvis exhibit in Graceland when this woman walks in front of me.

I want to be clear. I'm not making fun of her size. Yes she was 300lb+, but that's her call.

No, what was shocking was the Blue Cross Blue Shield T-Shirt she was wearing with the tagline "Get Healthy". Why would they make the T-Shirt in a size to fit a 300lb person?

As you can see I basically ran from the exhibit trying to secretly capture the T-Shirt. I really need to change the healthcare plan for my business. Blue Cross Blue Shield are tools.

Friday, July 10

A shot rings out

In between all of the Elvis goodness we did get a chance visit the site in Memphis where Martin Luther King was killed.

Totally by coincidence I'd watched the excellent The Night James Brown Saved Boston on the flight over, and was blown away by the calm humility and gravitas of Dr King.

They've turned the motel into a museum for Civil Rights. It cuts a spooky and quiet shadow in an otherwise run-down area south of Beale Street.

Elvis Time. Big Time

Of course the main event was Graceland. It might be overtly commercialized but it's still the best place to OD on the King.

Here's my folks in the mansion getting their audio tour. We did the whole enchilada. House, cars, planes, and visited every gift shop.

Couldn't help but feel sorry for the people who live to the side of Graceland. Fancy having a cook out on a sunny day and seeing a 1,000 people the other side of your fence walking around in zombie mode with the silly headphones attached.

Later in the afternoon we went around Sun Studio. Ghosts of music past prevail. The tour is a good intro to the early conversion of delta blues to white rock n roll. And in the coffee shop next door? They do awesome malt shakes!

Thursday, July 9

Elvis Time

So no guesses required for where I get my Elvis fandom from. My parents first date was an Elvis movie, and today I got to take them down to Elvisland.

When traveling I try to visualize if other friends and family would like/dislike the place, and this one was a no brainer. Went down to Memphis before I was married (technically last century!!), and so for this trip I wanted to add an extra experience.

Inspiration came from the wonderful blog 97thingstodobeforeiturn97. And so this morning (with a business class upgrade in hand), we headed down south. Landing in hot and humid Memphis, we rented a car (well a Sebring) with satellite radio, cranked up the Elvis channel and sped down to Tupelo, Mississippi aka Elvis birthplace.

We were lucky to avoid a State trooper speed trap, which in a small way was unfortunate. Who wouldn't want a southern cop aiming his gun at the folks with weird accents as they tried to open the rental car glove compartment.

The good people at Garmin have even mapped out the parts between the Coasts of America, and so in the late afternoon, with shadows getting longer by the minute, we pulled up by the 2 room house where the King of Rock 'n' Roll was born.



sparkleneely at 97 things (and a way better writer than me), does an excellent job of capturing the almost ad verbatim stuff you get to hear when you walk through the house. The house is real tiny and it's hard to take photos without the guide getting her big old Southern hair in the shot. I did manage to make her blush when I said "She must be the most photographed woman in America".

Afterwards we had our picture snapped with the bronze Elvis and then headed for the gift shop. Plenty of tat to buy (I went with a pair of EP shades and sideburns).

The cardboard Elvi behind the seating are too good an opportunity to miss, so here's me and my mum going Police Squad stylee.

All that was left to do was sign the register book, which I did, while my parents mistakenly signed the petition to re-name the Tupelo airport.

We made a quick detour to Tupelo Central, and to the hardware store where Elvis got his first guitar. It still looks like a 50's style hardware store, and they keep a picture of Elvis in the window.

Mississippi was great. I saw no proof of their recent infamous obesity record, and was disappointed to not use the phrase Tupelo Honeyz. I was picturing larger sized African American ladies with a penchant for miserable bastard Irishman Van Morrison. And driving between Tupelo and Memphis you get to cross the Tallahatchie Bridge, made famous in the Ode to Billie Joe.

At night we hit the city for BBQ. Good times!

Wednesday, July 8

Awkward

Took my parents to the Charlestown Navy Yard today.

We went onto the USS Cassin Young, a WWII warship.

Guess who bumped into me as I stood by a torpedo reading about Kamikaze pilots?

Let's just say "Konichiwa".

Sunday, July 5

Extreme Sports


Holy shit! We just did a bike ride and my mother really did say that she would like to go ziplining.

Braved the crowds for the fireworks last night. I know I'm miserable but the fireworks seem so fucking one note to me. Big wow, 20 minutes of "Oooh that's a good one", or in our case, 20 mins of some French chick shouting into her mobile about which club she would meet her friend while the cross-walk beep noise CONSTANTLY chirped for the entirety of the event.

Still, not to worry, the couple on the other side thought it a good idea to bring their stroller and 3 month old spawn. Guess what? It cried.

However, I do love the feeling of the walking population reclaiming Mass Ave all the way back to Central Square.

Anyhow, guess I need to find a bungee jump for later in the week ....

Saturday, July 4

No fear

Hardly white water rafting, but the intrepid parents turned down an afternoon in an air-conditioned cinema to go kayaking.

And let me tell ya, it was a bit choppy. For the 2nd day running I had to tell my dad how to use the iPhone camera so that he didn't take a picture of himself (screen towards you Dad).

An hour of splish splashing and working those obliques.

Friday, July 3

Because I'm immature

Took my genetic predecessors to Fenway Park tonight.

Good times all round even if the MBTA did try to push us off task with their failed signals.

As a non-baseball fan even I could tell these were good seats. Beer, hot dogs, peanuts, you get the idea.

And halfway through the game the huge John Hancock sign above the bleachers had a lighting malfunction.

Which meant that I got to point and giggle for 4 innings at a massive sign that just said 'cock'

Wednesday, July 1

Wii Tastic

Tuesday night and my parents were not jet-lagged.

They wanted to play Wii. So 2 hours of hilarity ensued.

Tonight I arrived home to find my Dad downstairs systematically breaking all of my top scores.

Here's another Dad enjoying the Wii